Equivalent bulk strength of the interface between p-Si/n-GaAs bonded through the surface activated bonding (SAB) method is found. The interface current was extensively investigated. Nonideal behavior of the pn junction current is found to be due to the tunneling current between the conduction band and valence band across the transition region associated with band gap states. Interface current decreases with increasing sputtering time and energy and vice versa. Irradiation time and energy dependent behavior indicates that the accumulation of radiation induced defects associated with the doping controls the interface current of p-Si/n-GaAs. Moreover, strong impact of the exposure to an ultrahigh vacuum atmosphere of the activated surfaces on the interface current of p-Si/p-Si is found. Finally it can be suggested that a laser diode can be fabricated by the bonding between p-Si and n-GaAs through the SAB method, because of the achievement of equivalent bulk strength of the interface. © 2001 American Vacuum Society.